Sunday, February 28, 2016

SEGA hardcore fan Website should be ready by April.

Just updating to let everyone know that the website domain name "*.org" is in the process of registration and should be registered in the next 3 weeks.

I have also found a 3rd co-Admin who will help build and will take part in help paying for the AMI.

We are working earnestly to design the new site and forum community. I am confident that by Mid/Late April it will be up and running.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

SEGA Cyclone Development Kit officially entered into the US Trademark database.

"Sega Cyclone Development Kit" the Japanese Trademark filed by SEGA last Fall, and the Trademark that entered the WIPO has finally and officially entered the US Trademark Office for full viewing.

The IP Mark,who's logo can be seen above , was falsely assumed to be an update of an Arcade simulator that was sold and played only in Europe several years ago called "Typhoon" which by the way is NOT a Sega property or IP, nor it is licensed by SEGA. So those assumptions were not only incredulous, they were grossly over-compensated.

The Application description reads as shown here:

Word Mark
Goods and ServicesIC 009. US 021 023 026 036 038. G & S: Computer game programs; computer game software; video game software; video game programs; video game discs and cartridges; computer game software for use on mobile and cellular phones; computer software for software design, development and testing and related computer-aided software testing tools; game engine software for video game development and operation; computer software development tools
Design Search Code15.07.01 - Cog wheels; Gears
26.01.26 - Coils; Spirals; Swirls
Serial Number79182282
Filing DateNovember 12, 2015
Current Basis66A
Original Filing Basis66A
International Registration Number1287117
Owner(APPLICANT) SEGA Games Co., Ltd. CORPORATION JAPAN 1-2-12, Haneda, Ota-ku; Tokyo JAPAN
Priority DateNovember 9, 2015
Description of MarkColor is not claimed as a feature of the mark.
Live/Dead IndicatorLIVE

Notice the words "SEGA CYCLONE" are in bold letters. This is because of 2 things: 1. This printing method used by the US Trademark Office database bolds Mark logos to help them be distinguishable and 2, Highlighting words in a US Trademark Application, usually indicates that the application has another brand Trademark associated with it that will also eventually enter the Trademark database.

This means, its highly VERY possible, that Sega Cyclone is a separate product, and that much like this application states, this is for its Development Kit.

Another interesting thing to note is the logo design and theme. The Sprockets and Cogs are both references to the Jetsons, now keep in mind, NVIDIA has a Mobile Motherboard CPU called Jetson, so this could certainly be a coincidence:

Also, the "Swirl". Get it? They're using a "Swirl".

So the remaining question, what exactly is "Sega Cyclone"? Is it an "Arcade" or "Console".

I'm inclined to believe, possibly both. After all, its not out of the ordinary for SEGA to Trademark a prototype for a product that they will eventually use(Saturn had a different prototype trademark filed back in 1993:

If you are wondering if its possible that this will remain a prototype and likely never get used much like "Sega Drive, "Sega Jupiter" and "Sega Neptune", the answer is simply, No.

That's because, this Mark was filed under the Madrid in the WIPO. And thus has been sent to the US Trademark office for fill final review, prior to Full International Registration. "Sega Drive" was filed under 44b(Bonafide Intent To Use), which is normally used for Trademark IPs that are considered, but often never used because the applicant simply forgets about them.

Again, Sega Cyclone Development Kit, is under the Madrid Protocol. It's GOING to be used, regardless.

Monday, February 15, 2016

The Misunderstood Mega CD/Sega CD.

Today's Op-Ed is about the underrated,unappreciated, often misunderstood Mega CD/Sega CD. I feel compelled to write this because I everytime I see or read an article or comment on SEGA's past, the Sega CD/Mega CD is often referenced in a negative, if not often misunderstood, one dimensional manner.

Often, I notice articles or resource sites saying things like: "Sega CD was a flop" or "that it had way too much shovelware" or that "Sega CD was just too ahead of its time" and even often, the Sega CD is unfairly lumped with the atrocious 32X as an "unwated add on for Genesis" all of these are just mere incredulous talking points with no actual facts to back it up. And I'd like to point out the real facts regarding Sega CD/Mega CD. Not only in the op-ed, will I point out how false all those talking points were as well reveal secret facts regarding Mega CD's development. Which secretly took place during 1989-1990.

It all started  in August 1988, SEGA's System 16, 16-bit Arcade line was a rousing success both in Japan and Globally, it was clear by then that the company needed to include a new up-gradable board for the new decade codenamed "Project Moon" or System 24. The new Arcade board,would have 3 revolutionary features, the first, System 24 would be the first Arcade board in history to support CD-ROM as a proprietary format, the second, the whopping 1300 KBs of Memory and Data which in the late 80s was considered cutting edge and finally, "Mode 7" sprite technology.

System 24 would also be capable of producing up to a max of over 4.000 colors, and 2,048 sprites.(NES/Famicom was only capable of 16, Master System/Mark III only capable of 64, PC Engine/Turbo Graphix only capable of 128) and used 2 16-bit Motorola 68000 CPUs(Twice the power of  the new Mega Drive). It was also clear to SEGA, that was certainly an initiative to attempt home Arcade ports from System 24, but the problem was obvious, The Mega Drive was way inferior and incapable of handing such power with its 256 sprite limitation and lack of scaling,rotation and Mode 7 scrolling(in which Nintendo begin to incorporate in Famicom 2 a.k,a the Super Famicom which had just started development).

The solution was obvious: Instead of developing another console or SKU, all they had to do is design a special accessory for the new ready to be launched Mega Drive. There were 2 options: A Floppy Disk Drive ala Famicom Disk Drive which had launched in 1986, the second, a Laser Disc add on that powered System 24 chips codenamed  "Project Earth" or Mega Laser Disc. Which was inspired by the failed 1985 LD multi player the "RDI Halcyon".

And so, in November 1988, SEGA signed on a joint venture deal with Pioneer to design and develop a LD add on machine for Mega Drive, since SEGA and Pioneer had worked together on SEGA's 1984 cutting edge LD Arcade motherboard. Pioneer was very ambitious. They wanted to build a full fledged LD multi media machine that doubled as an add on for Sega Mega Drive. This was around the same time in the Netherlands, Philips was developing "CD Interactive" or "CD-i" which was a horribly executed,gimmicky,over budgeted multi media CD player which didn't get introduced until early 1991.

Also around the same time, Hasbro and Radio Shack were also working on a 16-bit VHS based console NEMO. These two failed machines would play a crucial role in  Sega "Project Earth" later on.

The development process of Sega "Project Earth" Mega LD finally begin in the Summer of 1989 around the time Mega Drive newly nicknamed "Sega Genesis" for the Western Hemisphere, (referencing the first book of the Holy Bible in the hopes this would be the "beginning" of success as a home video game console brand) In the middle of R&D headed and managed by Masami Ishikawa,Hideki Okamura, and Tomio Takumi, Sega Away 27 and Pioneer ran into several set backs: the first was the overall cost and supply shortage for System 24 silicon(BOM prices for the Motherboard alone were a whopping $400). The second was the illogical thought process regarding the design of both Mega LD and its pin attachment to MD's large motherboard. Too many chips simply risked overheating,over-inflation,over-performing and overpricing; The 3rd and final: The overall unreliability on Laser Disc itself. It was too bulky,too pricey and too niche. Although SEGA was approaching Sega Earth/Mega LD from a niche perspective, LD just didn't have an audience or market who would be willing to pay mad dollars for such a hybrid.

Also, Ishikawa wanted to keep his 8 bit line alive despite SEGA by 1989 already abandoning it, so he suggested, it be recycled for a full colored portable handheld codenamed "Project Mercury" that would be designed to take on Nintendo's new B&W "Gameboy" and Atari's new "LYNX". This became the Sega Game Gear.

And so, in March 1990, SEGA and Pioneer's plans for Sega Earth/Mega Laser Disc were scrapped. The project needed a retool and was headed back to the drawing board. As part of the brokerage deal, Pioneer took the patents for the concept, and SEGA agreed to allow ROM compatibility of Mega Drive to be used for it, later, when Project Earth finally became "Mega CD", SEGA allowed ROM compatibility with Pioneer's newly retooled stand alone Laser Disc multimedia player "LaserActive".

After the failed deal with Pioneer, SEGA sought a solution for Project Earth, and they saw one so simple an obvious: CD-ROM! It was clear from NEC's PC Engine CD add on, Compact Disc ROM had serious potential, and would eventually replace Cartridges for game ROM storage(Sega was far from correct on this matter) also CD offered larger storage,better, STEREO sound and could push better quality via MPEG. SEGA finally signed JVC "Japan Victor Company" on board as their 2nd party partner, since JVC was the dominate home video media giant and creator of VHS.

But there was a problem, System 24 was still very expensive and SEGA wanted to price its new hybrid just fair enough for niche consumers. it was basically next to impossible for System 24 to make it to the home consumers. The newly official christened, finalized hybrid of Sega Earth: The "Mega CD" could simply DOUBLE the power of Mega Drive. Adding more sprites,more colors, REAL Stereo sound,larger capacity, and double its RAM from 512KBs to 768KBs for these purposes, SEGA simply powered Mega CD with an addition 68000 CPU with twice the clockspeed of Mega Drive's.

SEGA also came up with a new solution regarding game data memory: Cartridges being used for back  up memory!Later reused for Sega Saturn, the Mega CD allowed a storage program to copy certain game data on the disc and also backup data on a separate Cartridge running through Mega Drive's motherboard.

The Mega CD finally completed development in November 1990. JVC was tasked to provide its motherboard,CD lens,tray,drive,motor and extra Motorola 68000 and  with SEGA's final BOM price: $175 and a set retail price for Japan at 40,000 Yen($400), the new Mega CD was ready for Japan.

SEGA of Japan had also just launched its new Handheld the Game Gear and was finding it to be modestly successful, fearing breaches and mishandling of PR, SOJ kept Mega CD secret from SOA, intrusting it to Sega of Europe.

The Mega CD was finally unveiled to the public for the first time at the Tokyo Toy Fair in April 1991 the same day as CES 1991 in which Philips unveiled its CD-i . Also that same time, SEGA's new Mascot "Sonic The Hedgehog" was also unveiled to the world for the very first time. Reaction was very positive at first, and pre-orders and demand was very high for Mega CD, but that ultimately became a curse instead of a blessing for it. Due to the high demand, the Mega CD was hit by massive shortages and silicon supply problems forcing SOJ to delay its planned Early Fall 1991 rollout until early December.

The Mega CD finally hit Japan on December 6,1991 for 38,900 Yen($390) despite the ten dollar difference, and despite the shortage issues, MCD was a solid hit selling about 100,000 units its first 2 months of availability. For a niche device especially one competing against NEC PC Engine CD and SNK Neo Geo, 100K is very good.

The Mega CD and Sonic The Hedgehog also helped turn the tide for Mega Drive in Japan, by 1992, MD was outselling PC Engine by 3 to 1. Although sales remained modest for Mega CD, developer support was limited. Many developers were simply too overwhelmed by CD ROM itself and CD+G. Although SEGA sent out SDKs and CD masters, most 3rd party developers were inexperienced in burning and programming games on CDs. The Mega CD soon begin to become barren on game releases, and SEGA was unable to convince many to fully support Mega CD despite how easy it was to program, by then SOJ was more focused on their 5th gen plans with the new projects: The System 32 based "MARS" and System 32 with Model 1 3D Technology 2D powerhouse "JUPITER".

Sega of Japan finally sent out SDKs for Mega CD as well as patents to Sega of America in February 1992. SOJ instructed SOA to find a way to successfully market it in the West. Tom Kalinske really felt that the nicknamed "Sega CD" could find an audience with Full Motion Video, so after meeting with NEMO creator Tom Zito who had formed a new game development studio "Digital Pictures", Kalinske was convinced FMV could work and was easily marketable, so he decided that Sega CD would be marketed as an Interactive, Next Level new hybrid for Genesis, while agreeing to allow Zito to port all of NEMO's unreleased FMVs like "Sewer Shark" "Prize Fighter" and the infamous "Night Trap" to Sega CD.

Sega of America also signed an OEM deal with Sony without realizing that JVC was in charge or completely unaware that Sony was planning a strategy secretly to get into the console business. Sony not only agreed to develop plenty of FMV titles for Sega CD, they also claimed full patent and OEM rights on Sega CD and got wind of SEGA of Japan's Jupiter project. SEGA had no idea that Sony would use info regarding Jupiter to design its PlayStation hybrid and planned on double crossing Nintendo's Super CD project to get it made.

The Sega CD was displayed at Summer CES 1992 alongside the anticipated "Sonic The Hedgehog 2" game. The stunning  surprise success of Sonic The Hedgehog the previous year which completely turned the tables on Nintendo regarding NES and cast doubts on the  new Super Nintendo while injecting NEW life into the Genesis, meant Sonic was a force to be reckoned with. He was marketable,he had mass appeal, he was a money making machine for SEGA, so his sequel was the talk of the town. Everyone was focused on Sonic 2. But the second place focus was certainly on the new Sega CD. This new add on was supposed to enhance the Genesis and was supposed to be BETTER priced and better executed than the failed CD-i. SOA was confident its steep $399 price point was economical and also figured they'd win over TurboGraphix consumers.

Because of the hit positive reception of Sega CD at  Summer CES, demand for it was pretty high. Alas, the same problems it had in Japan, also carried over to the states and Sony claiming OEM rights, drastically affected supply.

The Sega CD hit the US on November 24,1992, the same day as Sonic 2, Sega of America's new marketing campaign called "Welcome To The Next Level" is said to be what helped put the Genesis on the map in America and what launched Sonic into the Stratosphere.

The Sega CD launched with 12 titles. The most popular being Sewer Shark. About 50,000 units were sold through the Holiday of 1992. It was early 1993, when sales improved even more thanks to increase in 3rd party support. SEGA then decided not to port Sonic 2 to Sega CD, and instead design and develop its original planned Sonic 1 sequel, the newly christened "Sonic The Hedgehog CD".

The Mega CD finally made its way to Europe on March 26,1993 and in Australia on April 16,1993. In those territories,MCD caught on much better and was more successful.

In Early 1993, after a consultation with SEGA of Japan and after receiving prototypes for "Sega Mars/Giga Drive" now scrapped by SOJ, Sega of America learned that they had been lied to and deceived by Sony regarding OEM rights. That JVC was the OEM holder and stated they were and thus owned all licensing for Sega CD. Sony denied this claim and instead threatened to take JVC to court in which they did. But it backfired instead for Sony, as JVC was able to prove they were the OEM holders and owned the patent to Sega CD's motherboard and CD technology alongside SEGA. Sony's court battle against JVC was lost. In return, JVC,SEGA and Sony agreed to stop manufacturing the CD tray loader design of Mega CD/Sega CD. The Sega CD/Mega CD was getting a redesign with a top loader instead of a tray. Sony then learned, SEGA had no interest in getting them involved with Jupiter(unbeknownst to them and SOA, Sega of Japan had a top secret alternative to Jupiter codenamed "Aurora") so Sony moved forward with its secret plans for "PlayStation" after also learning Nintendo was no longer interested in partnerships with them.

By the summer of 1993, lack of software support was slowing Mega CD down in Japan. So SEGA rolled out Sonic CD in the hopes of sparking continued interest in it. the game was an instant success(thus far the only commercially successful Sonic release in Japan) but majority of the 3rd party developers were stuck on Super Famicom and instead were also flocking to the new 3DO console. SOJ finally felt the time was right to move on from Mega CD with the hopes that the other region divisions would keep it alive while they focused energy on the newly designed Aurora System 32 with Model 2 3D technology design "Saturn". Unbeknownst to them however, Sega of America had already ditched plans to upgrade Sega CD with Sega CD32/CDX and instead was designing a new Genesis add on hybrid to upgrade its successful Genesis line from Mars' "Genesis 32 or 32X".

Sega CD continued to fare well, but for SEGA, their clear belief was that it was running on empty. That even by 1994, its technology would be dated, and again SOA despite considering the idea of upgrading it with System 32 chips for the Mars project, was more concerned about the Genesis.

By 1994, the Sega CD/Mega CD was dying, internally. It was still selling very well overall globally(even in Japan, where within just 2 years it had reached 500,000). Alas the poor Sega CD was bogged down with frequent supply constraints,too many gimmicky FMV games(which weren't bad per say, they just had limited shelf life and replay-ability) and a frustrating lack of Japanese 3rd party support from developers just too squeamish about CD-ROM. Though Sega of Japan supported Mega CD until 1995 and SEGA overall until 1996, Sega CD was finally retired in March 1996 with just 200 games in its 4 year lifespan.

The tragic thing about it, is that it was a good system. It was just too overpriced early on and lacked great games. memorable games like Snatcher,Popful Mail,Sonic CD,Lethal Enforces,Sunset Riders,Final Final CD,Shining Force CD, and Ecco The Dolphin CD didn't come into later in its life and were weighed down by the FMV games. Many people who bash it fail to realize that the FMV titles for it were great for their time and well executed. That the CD-i had FAR worse FMV titles and 3X times more, that were all overall, very poorly executed and overpriced. Sega CD itself did what PC Engine CD and Neo Geo both failed to do and especially what 32X UTTERLY FAILED at doing: Become a console accessory that stood out as its own unique product.

Sega CD/Mega CD is a beloved,short lived product with an interesting history and good,small library to boot. Despite claims of it being a flop, Sega CD overall  sold 6 million units worldwide by the end of 1995. Ignore all the hate, its a good investment with PLENTY of collectible games to choose from.

Here's its basic spec sheet:

CPU: 16-bit Motorolla 68000 (12.5MHz) The MCD used an additional M68000 processor, this allowed it to run a double the speed and also increase its performance.
RAM: 768kb(Mega Drive/Genesis was only capable of max 512KBs, Mega CD doubled available memory.)
Colors: 512 (64 on screen) Mega Drive/Genesis' max color was 256. At the time Mega CD was released in 1991, MD games only displayed 64-128 colors.
Resolution: 320x224 pixels
Sound: 10-channel PCM sound(No console at the time could do Stereo sound, and most PCs were incapable of doing so.)
CD Speed: 150kb/s (1x)
Sprites: 80(Mega CD may have come a year after Super Famicom, but being capable of micropolygons was a techinical feat for it prior to Star Fox)

Here's a more detailed spec sheet of Sega CD/Mega CD, this is for 1991 people:

In early 1995, in both a last ditch effort to give Sega CD one last hurrah and in a DESPERATE attempt to save the catastrophe called 32X, Sega of America combined Sega CD's technology with 32X's and released a few FMV games that required both add ons called: 32X CD This was basically what was left of the CD32/CDX idea of upgrading  Sega CD. This feature simply enhanced Sega CD with 32X's System 32 chips. But by then, it was too little too late.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

SEGA teases new Arcade IP and perhaps NEW Arcade board at JAEPO/AOU 2016, recent interview with President suggests SEGA possibly getting on board with the Dreamcast 2 proposal.

A follower of mine on Google Plus, shared this teaser SEGA posted on their site:

Keep in mind, JAEPO/AOU is a Japanese Amusement Tradeshow in Tokyo and is the biggest in all of Asia. So with it being AOU related, its certainly not only a teaser for a new Arcade game(likely a card game) it certainly also indicates SEGA could be finally upgrading its Ring series line for the first time in 4 years.

Also, there was an interview with Sega Holdings' CEO Haijime Satomi:

Sega Sammy Holdings is SEGA Holdings,Co,Ltd, because SH is not yet open for public trading, SS is still referred to as the investment group.

This line in the translated interview jumped straight out at me:

 "Question: How are you going to rebuild the Sega brand and how long do you think that is going to take?

 Satomi: As I said before, the Sega brand first became famous as an arcade machine and then with the home video game consoles. The Sonic character was largely popular with those machines and consoles. Unfortunately, we eventually withdrew from the home video game console business. However, our name and brand is still out there because of the famous characters from people’s childhood. We would like to change, adjust or shift our product, brand and business with the current era to be a leader again in the future."

Translation: We want to get back into the hardware business and are willing to change our business structure to do so.

Now to be fair, this interview likely is a few weeks old. But even so, if it isn't(and if Satomi is actually aware of the Dreamcast 2 proposal) then this is a subtle "Yes" to the idea. If this interview is a few weeks old, then this line reiterates what Satomi stated in Famitsu last summer: "Sega in the 90s was known for its "brand", but after that, we've lost trust and we left with nothing but a 'reputation" we'd like to win back the customer's trust and become a "brand" once again."

SEGA hasn't forgotten us, they knows its REAL,TRUE fans are still out there.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Stop the Presses!SEGA Live Creation,Inc Officially enters the Madrid US Trademark Database!!!

That's right folks, SEGA Live Creation which first entered the WIPO database in September 2015, has finally made it into the US Trademark Office under the Madrid or International Bureau!

Before you dismiss it by claiming its "Broad" or "It can be anything" or even the "Trademarks get filed all the time and they usually don't mean nothing" SEGA has requested a special filing method regarding the IB/Madrid Protocol call "Request for Limitations of the Goods and Services".

GOODS AND SERVICES LIMITED TOAmusement machines and apparatus for use in amusement parks; amusement machines, automatic and coin-operated; coin-operated games for use in amusement parks; coin-operated amusement machines, amusement park rides; coin, card or counter operated arcade games; amusement game machines; arcade crane game machine; pinball game machines; arcade video game machines; arcade video game machines other than for use with television receivers; coin, card or counter operated electronic arcade video game machines; amusement machines and apparatus for use in amusement parks [coin, card or counter operated]; video game machines; stand alone video output game machines; cabinets for arcade video game machines; apparatus for games; controllers for game consoles; arcade medal redemption game machines; arcade ticket redemption game machines; arcade game machines other than for use with television receivers; fairground ride apparatus; amusement park rides; home video game machines; hand-held games with liquid crystal displays; toys, namely, rubber toys, plastic toys, wooden toys, electronic toys, educational toys, small toys, squeeze toys; controllers for toys; kaleidoscopes; dolls; stuffed toys; action figures; puzzles; jigsaw puzzles; dolls with key chains; dolls with straps; trading card games; go games; japanese playing cards, namely, utagaruta; Japanese chess (shogi games); dice; Japanese dice games (sugoroku); dice cups; Chinese checkers [games]; chess games; checkers, checker sets; conjuring apparatus; dominoes; playing cards; Japanese playing cards (hanafuda); mah-jong; chips for casino games; game machines and apparatus; coin-operated games; billiard equipment; darts equipment; digital darts equipment; slot machines; slot machines [gaming machines]; parlour games; pachinkos; horizontal pinball machine (korinto-game machines); sports equipment; sports equipment, namely, baseball bats, gloves and soccer balls, basketballs, hockey skates, skis.
GOODS AND SERVICES (FOOTER)The other classes remain unchanged.

So, what does this mean? It means that SEGA has requested that under the Madrid, the IB restrict the International Class of 028(Games & Playthings, Parlor Establishments and Hardware) for use only in the United States. In the WIPO, applicants can request that one IC be used in a selected designated territory. This means that the other Classes won't apply here in America.

With it being restricted to only IC 028, it means one thing, SEGA Live Creation,Inc will handle Amusement Machines,Redemption Game Machines,Prize Machines, Video Game Hardware and Accessories R&D.

Basically, in the US, SEGA Live Creation,Inc is the official successor of Sega Amusements USA who designed and developed the Sega 32X,Pico,Nomad and who also developed the Dreamcast prototype the Black Belt.

Whereas in Japan, SEGA Live Creation will license, license out Theme Parks and Amusement Centers like Orbi Earth,Joypolis, PLUS handle R&D in the same league as Sega Away/Sega Russo did in the 1990s.

Here's the full description of SEGA Live Creation,Inc if you don't want to read the link:

Goods and ServicesIC 009. US 021 023 026 036 038. G & S: Game programs for home video game machines; electronic circuits, magnetic tapes and disks, optical disks, ROM cartridges and other recording media containing programs for use with home video game machines; memory cards for video game machine; electronic circuits, magnetic tapes and disks, optical disks, rom cartridges and other recording media containing programs for use with hand-held games with liquid crystal displays; game software for home video game machines; telecommunication machines and apparatus; straps for mobile phones; headphones; loudspeakers; cell phone covers; cases adapted for mobile phones; computers; computer game programs; electronic circuits, magnetic tapes and disks, optical disks, rom cartridges containing computer game programs; computer software; game programs for mobile phones; computer game software; game programs for arcade video game machines; electronic circuits, magnetic tapes and disks, optical disks, ROM cartridges and other recording media containing programs for use with arcade video game machines; game software for arcade video game machines; video game program; video game software; phonograph records; downloadable music files; downloadable music files for mobile terminals; recorded compact discs; downloadable image files; animated cartoons; recorded video discs and video tapes featuring movies, cartoons, video games; downloadable image files and moving image files for mobile terminals; electronic publications; memory cards for use with apparatus for games including arcade gamesIC 028. US 022 023 038 050. G & S: Amusement machines and apparatus for use in amusement parks; amusement machines, automatic and coin-operated; coin-operated games for use in amusement parks; coin-operated amusement machines, amusement park rides; coin, card or counter operated arcade games; amusement game machines; arcade crane game machine; pinball game machines; arcade video game machines; arcade video game machines other than for use with television receivers; coin, card or counter operated electronic arcade video game machines; amusement machines and apparatus for use in amusement parks (coin, card or counter operated); video game machines; stand alone video output game machines; cabinets for arcade video game machines; apparatus for games; controllers for game consoles; arcade medal redemption game machines; arcade ticket redemption game machines; arcade game machines other than for use with television receivers; fairground ride apparatus; amusement park rides; home video game machines; hand-held games with liquid crystal displays; toys, namely, rubber toys, plastic toys, wooden toys, electronic toys, educational toys, small toys, squeeze toys; controllers for toys; kaleidoscopes; dolls; stuffed toys; action figures; puzzles; jigsaw puzzles; dolls with key chains; dolls with straps; trading card games; go games; japanese playing cards, namely, utagaruta; Japanese chess (shogi games); dice; Japanese dice games (sugoroku); dice cups; Chinese checkers (games); chess games; checkers, checker sets; conjuring apparatus; dominoes; playing cards; Japanese playing cards (hanafuda); mah-jong; chips for casino games; game machines and apparatus; coin-operated games; billiard equipment; darts equipment; digital darts equipment; slot machines; slot machines (gaming machines); parlour games; pachinkos; horizontal pinball machine (korinto-game machines). sports equipment; sports equipment, namely, baseball bats, gloves and soccer balls, basketballs, hockey skates, skis
IC 041. US 100 101 107. G & S: Providing electronic publications; services of reference libraries for literature and documentary records; book rental; providing on line electronic publications via Internet or database including websites; arranging and planning of movies, shows, plays or musical performances; arranging and conducting of concerts; organization of shows (impresario services); arranging and conducting movie, music and video game events, entertainment in the nature of an amusement park attraction, namely, a themed area; providing information regarding arranging and planning of movies, shows, plays or musical performances, plays or musical performances; movie showing, movie film production, or movie film distribution; cinema presentations; film production, other than advertising films; movie theatre presentations; providing on-line images, movies, moving images and graphics; providing on-line electronic publications, not downloadable; providing on-line videos, not downloadable; providing information relating to providing on-line images, movies, moving images and graphics; providing on-line images, movies, moving images and graphics by computer terminals or mobile phones; providing on line images, movies, moving images and graphics by home video game machines or arcade game machines; providing information relating to providing on-line images, movies, moving images and graphics by computer terminals and mobile phones; providing entertainment in the form of non-downloadable images relating to fictional characters from books, animation, toys and games; presentation of live show performances; entertainer services; presentation of live performances; production of shows; theatre productions; direction or presentation of plays; presentation of musical performances; presentation of live show performances, plays and musical performances provided on-line; providing on-line music, not downloadable. providing information relating to presentation of live show performances, plays and music provided on-line; providing on-line live show performances, plays and music by computer terminals or mobile phones; providing information relating to providing on-line live show performances, plays and music by computer terminals or mobile phones; organization or arrangement of game tournaments; organization or arrangement of entertainment in the nature of amusement park rides and attractions excluding movies, live show performances, plays, musical performances, sports, horse races, bicycle races, boat races and auto races; party planning (entertainment); providing amusement facilities; discotheque services; game services provided on-line from a computer network; providing karaoke services; providing amusement arcade services; providing information relating to amusement facilities; providing amusement parks; providing theme park services; amusement park and funfair services; amusement park services with a theme of films; amusement park services with a theme of television productions; amusement park services with a theme of radio productions; providing information relating to providing amusement parks; providing information relating to providing theme park services; providing on line games; providing information relating to providing on-line games; providing on-line games by computer terminals or mobile phones; providing information relating to providing on-line games by computer terminals or mobile phones; providing information relating to scores of on-line game users; game services provided on-line from a mobile phone network; providing casino facilities; providing information about casinos; rental of toys; rental of amusement machines and apparatus; rental of arcade video game machines; rental of game machines and apparatus
IC 043. US 100 101. G & S: Providing temporary accommodation; accommodation bureaux (hotels, boarding houses); hotels; reservation of temporary accommodation in hotels and boarding houses; hotel reservations; temporary accommodation reservations; providing information about temporary accommodation services; providing foods and beverages; restaurants; snack-bars; restaurant information services; providing food and beverages in amusement facilities; cafeterias; providing conference rooms; providing facilities for exhibitions; rental of cooking equipment for industrial purposes; rental of curtains; rental of furniture; rental of wall hangings; rental of floor coverings; rental of wet wipes; rental of towels
Design Search Code26.15.13 - More than one polygon
26.15.16 - Polygons touching or intersecting
26.15.21 - Polygons that are completely or partially shaded
26.17.06 - Bands, diagonal; Bars, diagonal; Diagonal line(s), band(s) or bar(s); Lines, diagonal
Serial Number79181299
Filing DateJuly 24, 2015
Current Basis66A
Original Filing Basis66A
International Registration Number1285061
Owner(APPLICANT) KABUSHIKI KAISHA SEGA Games d/b/a SEGA Games Co., Ltd. Corporation JAPAN 1-2-12, Haneda, Ohta-ku; Tokyo 144-8531 JAPAN
Priority DateMarch 31, 2015
Description of MarkColor is not claimed as a feature of the mark.
Live/Dead IndicatorLIVE

SEGA Posts Q3 2015 Profit. SEGA becomes more aggressive with its Arcade Tradeshow attendance for the first time since the 90s.

"Looking at the business as a whole, net sales fell to 245 billion yen ($2.1 billion), a year-over-year drop of 8.5 percent. Profits, on the other hand, clocked in at 6.5 billion yen ($55.5 million), a shift in fortunes considering the company posted a loss of 2.77 billion yen ($23 million) at this point last year. "

Here's the lowdown on SEGA Holdings,Co Ltd's/SegaSammy 3rd Quarter 2015 Financial report:

Notice a significant bump in profit,operating profit and Net Sales of Amusement Machine Sales,Amusement Centers and Theme Parks. All relegated to the new Entertainment Contents category. While the TMS,Digital gaming,Toy and Marza Anime divisions continue to thrive, the worse performing divisions continue to be both the Consumer Game Business and Panchinko divisions.

These are signs to SEGA, that both of these markets need to be dissolved as collateral. Especially the packaged console game business(Kill it, SEGA) and the Panchinko Slot needs to be restructured as a Coin Slot and Vending machine division.

Don't be surprised to see SEGA's core Arcade/Amusement division take the lead as its most profitable division again for the first time since 1993. SEGA Amusements International and SEGA Interactive,Co,Ltd are becoming more aggressive with attendance of Arcade tradeshows. Google any new, upcoming Arcade show and you'll certainly see SEGA listed as an exhibitor. 

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Sega 32X/Mars and Saturn, kindred Spirts. a.ka. Mostly 32X, the SOA baby that should have been aborted.

This is an Op-Ed explaining parallels between the 2 5th Generation SEGA projects, the "Mars/GigaDrive" which became the 32X and almost became the Neptune/ Sega CD32 and the top secret power house "Aurora"which became SEGA Saturn, the most underrated and unappreciated video game console of all time in gaming history. The greek tragedy of all gaming consoles. One that could have been avoided.

In this Op-Ed, although I'll show how both SKUs shaped each other's lives in execution,presentation, and how truly connected they were to each other(Both designed the same year 1993, both hastily engineered within several months time, both launched on separate sides of the globe in 1994 ) I mainly want to focus on 32X, the Mushroom abomination that truly sunk SEGA and led to their overall decline and ultimate collapse in 2001.

I also will address and debunk various well known myths about Saturn and 32X(one is that 32X and Saturn used the same type of processor, the other, PlayStation affected Saturn's development) as well as the misconceptions regarding their history(SOJ being unfairly blamed for 32X's design, and Saturn being incapable of doing 3D better than PS1 or that it was originally designed as a 2D only machine).

Let's begin, with a study of contrast regarding 32X/Mars' development in the US, and Aurora/Saturn's development in Japan.

In Late 1992/Early 1993, SEGA Away27(AM3) the head R&D Home Consumer division of SEGA of Japan is torn between not one, not two but THREE 32-bit prototype designs stemming from its cutting edge Arcade line that it started developing in early 1991, after SEGA/CSK invested $4 billion into designing and developing 3D game and computer technology from NASA for its Amusement and Arcade market. SEGA partnered with Defense contractor Lockheed Martin since LM had developed 3D polygon technology for NASA in the late 1980s. From this, came 3 Arcade board designs: System 32(initially System 16's successor which was a 2D only build) The 3D only rendering build Model 1" and the Pseudo 64-bit powerhouse "Model 2".

Now since they had initially wanted to design a home consumer product from System 32 codenamed "Giga Drive"/Genesis 2, SEGA designed a prototype hybrid they decided to codename "Sega Mars"in 1991. The plan was to have it compete against the NEC Turbo Force/Turbo X(which later became the PCFX). But by the Summer of 1992, with Nintendo's new project codenamed "Reality"/Atlantis (which was scrapped and became the ill fated Virutal Boy), the mysterious 3DO and even news of Atari planning a new console codenamed "Panther", SEGA decided that 3D could be used as a necessity especially after being wowed by the Star Fox demo, so they threw out the Mars/Gigadrive design in favor of a new design "JUPITER" which would basically be System 32 with Model 1 3D technology, By late 1992, it was clear to SEGA that Genesis was gaining steam in the States, so logically, instead of scrapping MARS/Giga Drive, SOJ decided to send its prototypes to Sega of America with instructions to design and sell an SKU for Western markets for the Holiday season of 1994.

This is why SegaSonic Arcade made it Stateside. It was accidentally shipped alongside Mars prototypes in Early 1993.

SOJ gave instructions to Sega of America to finalize GigaDrive/Mars and have it ready for 1994.(The Neptune prototype design is actually the design SOJ send them) But SOA was riding high on Genesis' success, and fearing that abandoning Genesis in favor of what would likely be a vaporware console would be bad for business, Sega Amusements USA decided to come up with a compromise: Plan A or Plan B.

Plan A was to simply upgrade Sega CD. Enhancing it with System 32 chips while marketing it as a new and even more improved Sega CD. Codenamed "Sega CDX" or "Sega CD32". The top loader attachment was to be larger and more bulkier, whereas another design had it smaller and more compact. The Sega CDX as you see here:

was actually one of the considered prototypes, but the difference being is that it would have had connector pins to the Genesis Model 2 build like the Sega CD top loader.

Since JVC owned the OEM license and CD-ROM license,SOA would have no problem getting the BOMs, but they saw one flaw: How would a new SKU affect the shelf life of the fledgling Genesis? SOA was severely concerned that it would take away the marketshare and was determined to find some way,some compromise to keep the Genesis alive. This is where plan B "Genesis 32" came from.

In the late Spring of 1993,Joe Miller, head engineer at Sega Amusements USA conducted a secret meeting while Sega of America attended CES in Las Vegas. Miller and Tom Kalinkse were both convinced that building an stand alone SKU was just not worth risking Genesis' marketshare and that continuing to support Sega CD would run the novelty of FMV out quickly. (bad logic)They and Sega of America were convinced that doing another Add on Accessory for Genesis was the way to go.

Legend has it, one of the engineers at Sega Amusements USA literally drew up the concept for "Genesis 32" on a napkin with a Pencil.

Meanwhile, at SEGA Away in Japan, Hideki Sato and Yu Suzuki are making tremendous progress at AM2(SEGA's Arcade R&D division) on Model 2. Sato is convinced that a full fledged 3D console with up to 64-bits was the way to go and that full 3D was the way to go.That a full powered "Model 2" console was the atomic bomb they could use. This project was codenamed "Aurora" and SEGA of Japan insisted that it be kept confidential only between Sega of Japan employees. Suzuki and Sato tried to convince executives, but they felt it was simply "jumping the gun".(The Sony PS-X was NOT yet known and wasn't revealed to competitors until January 1994) they were satisfied that the JUPITER design(System 32 with Model 1 3D) was a proper pick and that the final verdict of overwhelming support would be shown at JAMMA in July regarding the basic polygonal Model 1 board.

And so, in July 1993, JAMMA rolls on. The Tradeshow reveals the new Model 1 board in which SEGA was sure was the right way to go, and also test ran the cutting edge Model 2 powerhouse board.

But the results are the opposite of what SEGA assumed. Instead of being wowed and amazed at Model 1, Japanese Arcade spectators are completely unimpressed. Turned off by its basic,textureless polygons, even the cutting edge new "Virtua Fighter" game felt out of place for them, Japanese spectators instead were floored and awestruck by Sato's Model 2 board and its Beta title "Daytona USA". The detailed textured, lush,colorful,multi shaped polygon,geometric Dual 32-bit machine was a massive hit much to the surprise of SEGA.

Sato was right all along. 3D WAS the way to go. But there was a problem, although Jupiter was ready to be canned alongside the overpriced Model 1, there was an issue with costs,engineer deadlines, and possible taping delays with Hitachi regarding both the Motherboard for Aurora and its planned SH-2 RISC 64 bit Microprocessor for Model 2's home consumer counterpart. Hayao Nakayama expected Aurora ready for the Holiday of 1994 domestically and wasn't going to wait any longer for more development time, and so, Hideki Sato and Sega Away agreed on a simple compromise: Take the existing Jupiter build,modify it, to run Model 2 3D technology,throw out its Cartridge ROM format in favor of CD-ROM, and ask Hitachi to simply split the power of the SH-2 CPU by having both 32-bit Core processors run both separately( Significantly Enhanced System 32 performance level and together(Model 2 performance level), this design was ultimately christened the "SATURN" since it was the next logical step. SEGA also quickly designed two special graphic co processors VDPs or "Video Data Processors" for running both System 32 style  2D games and low end Model 2 3D games. These VDPs were designed to split the graphical power of Model 2 which used both a 32-bit Intel i960 CPU and a Fujitsu TGP 86234 32-bit CPU.

The difference between Model 2 and Sega Saturn is like the difference between Core i3 Ivy Bridge and Core i5 Sandy Bridge. Although the Saturn's CPU is slightly faster than the Model 2 capable of 57 MHZ Clock Speed.

Back in America, Sega of America had been given the silicon and chips of Mars by Sega of Japan, since they weren't sure what type of processor the Genesis 32 would use. SOA pretty much wasted the remainder of 1993 experimenting with various gaming concepts with System 32's hardware and also going over Genesis' patents. They decided to wait on hearing back from Sega of Japan after the Holidays before they proceeded with Genesis 32's taping.

In November of 1993, the newly dubbed Sega Saturn made its way secretly to Sega of America's offices. Turns out Sato and Sega Away engineers were sending out its prototypes to Japanese connections like Yuji Naka who were given behind closed doors demonstrations of it and NDAs. The team had assembled its design together in just 4 months time. Sega of Japan secretly demonstrated Saturn to Japanese employees who were currently assigned to SOA. The team behind Sonic 3, were all given secret demos under the noses of Sega of America.

In January of 1994, Nasty surprises hit the game industry. One was that Sony was jumping in the console race with "PlayStation X" a 3D only 32-bit console. To SEGA and Nintendo, they were a serious threat. Unlike NEC, Sony had deep,deep pockets and could easy use more cash to crush the both of them. PS-X completely caught Nintendo by surprise, forcing them to scrap its Reality"/Atlantis project and start all over again on a new console project dubbed "Ultra 64". This is the myth that PlayStation somehow affected Saturn's design, it did not. Saturn by early 1994 was in Beta stages and was nearing its final shipment set for Spring 1994 with a Early Fall 1994 rollout in Japan.

The other was that Nintendo was doubled crossed by Sony and was infuriated to learn that Sony took its Super Famicom CD/Super CD hybrid and had turned it into a stand alone project. Nintendo also wondered just how much of a BIG mistake it was dropping Sony as an OEM partner in favor of Philips.

For Sega, it was a double whammy that incited civil war. At Sega of Japan, the new Saturn was unveiled to SOA for the first time. SOA was completely confused by its design of multi-processors and its strange Double 32-bit CPU. They considered it a nightmare to program and despite offers from Sega of Japan to work together on, SOA declined and revealed to SOJ what Mars design had become "Genesis 32X".

SEGA of Japan HATED this idea. They were extremely skeptical about this design(rightfully so) In fact, Nakayama threatened to FIRE Miller for designing another Genesis add on without their knowledge. But SOA argued aggressively about Genesis' success in the States and somehow convinced SOJ that another add on could work and that SOA could customize it to run both on Genesis hardware and SOJ could add more powerful integrated chips. So a reluctant SEGA of Japan agreed to move the "32X" forward giving it a Dual SH-1 Central Processing Unit(Another myth, Saturn's CPU is the same as 32X's, it is not. 32X uses a special enhanced SH-1, with an extra added thread) and dead-lining Sega of America to work aggressively on R&D. Something that SOA fails to live up to.

First, SOA misreads the Genesis motherboard patents and fails to realize that the Motorola 68000 was not programmed to read polygons(this is why 3D games on 32X were so horribly executed), they also focused on the current Model 2 motherboard and overlooked the classic Model 1. Leading to another problem with 32X, the 32X unit could not fit into a Model 1 Cartridge slot.

Second was the CPU that SOJ gave the 32X  for Sega of America to use: the  SH-1, SOA did not understand how RISC functioned or worked, so attempts to made it compatible with the 68000 failed, SOA also didn't have Masami Ishikawa involved, who would have showed them how to modify SH-1 to run separately from Genesis. Ishikawa(Mega Drive's lead designer and Mega CD's lead engineer) knew how to design MD to run separate on top of another separate processor much like how Mega CD used its own additional 68000 Microprocessor. Because of this, 32X NEVER was able to run on its own power or processor, instead running on the power of the aging, and dated Motorola 68000 Genesis CPU.

Third was the engineering of 32X. SOA had attempted to design 32X to run larger sprites,colors, and added polygons of 50,000, but since they failed to design the hybrid to run on its own. In short, 32X as Mars/Netpune would have been a mix between Jupiter and System 32. None of the integrated chips in the 32X could function as the SH-1 could not instruct them to as it wasn't programmed to.

Fourth the Cartridge media, I mentioned earlier that Mars,Jupiter and even Aurora were all initially cartridge based. The ROM boards SOA chose for 32X were too similar in size to Super NES. Leading to people assuming the games probably were no more powerful or larger than the SNES. SOJ junked Cartridges because of price regarding Saturn and because they needed Saturn ready for rollout in Japan in Mid 1994. The different ROM board design also made it difficult for Genesis carts to function on 32X, as well as the overall poor functionality with the 32X add on itself.

Fifth. Little to no R&D. SEGA of Japan had given SOA a strict R&D regime  that they failed to follow. SOA focused far more on marketing, and hurriedly getting out titles for it. When developers were shown 32X during Winter CES 1994. they because surprised when they learned that 32X didn't have its own SDK. That instead, games were being developed on Genesis instead of from the ground up on 32X. As a result MANY games were rushed to the market and weren't play tested or debugged.

Sixth. Abysmal sound Quality. 32X was build with enhanced stereo sound(which was SEGA CD's strongest point and feature) but alas, without a functional separate processor, the Sound Chip of the 32X was never used and instead, it was substituted for Genesis' old fashioned Z80 sound processor. Defeating the purpose of upgrading Sega CD for another add on just to sacrifice good sound quality in favor of polygons and more colors.

Seventh. No Play Testing or Debugging. Although 32X was test demonstrated(it wasn't test marketed) around the same week as Saturn in Japan in September 1994, there were was no testing or hardware debugging and SOA was hellbent on getting out 32X for its Stateside launch of Tuesday November 1st, so they ignored all of that figuring, there'd be few problems(how wrong they were).

Sega 32X hit North America on November 1,1994 and retailed for $179($249 adjust inflation). It hit 2 weeks after the release of Sonic & Knuckles and the same day Nintendo bundled its Summer smash "Donkey Kong Country" with its new $99 priced SNES.

The 32X at first got off to a promising start, shipping 500,000 and selling out its first week. But by November 15th, it became pretty clear that  a Tsunami of buyer's remorse had washed over. The lineup was considered dismal, as its killer app Doom 32X port was panned both critically and commercially. And most of its library were exposed as slightly better Genesis ports. That looked no different from SNES games and sounded worse. Also Sega CD consumers(like me) became extremely puzzled. Where were the Sega CD games? Why were they moving on to another add on, let alone one that used Cartridges even more costly than the Genesis ones?

The 32X also suffered from severe manufacturing problems and malfunctioned. Many units were defective:

The overall sloppy designed motherboard led to them being defective. As a result, many units were shipped back to retailers and Sega of America.

Consumers also were excited about the prospects of Saturn and Nintendo Ultra 64, and even a new Cable Subscription service being test marketed for Genesis called "Sega Channel".

By Christmas 1994, the word was out: 32X sucked. It was nothing more than a marketing ploy and desperate cash grab from Sega of America to squeeze more money out of Genesis owners. When it finally hit Japan on November 21,1994, it was DEAD on arrival. The mighty Saturn was ready to roll.

The Sega Saturn hit Japanese retailers on Tuesday November 22,1994 for 35,000 Yen($349) exactly 2 months after a raving and commercially sucessful Test Demonstration. It launched with about 9 titles. But due to its grand word of mouth(Being the talk of the town at Spring TGS and stealing the show at Fall TGS) Saturn was a commercial and instantaneous domestic success! Clocking in a Record 280,000 units in 24 hours, in comparison, the PlayStation which launched December 3rd, had only 5 titles and sold about 180,000 in 2 days.

Saturn's instant success in Japan caught Sega by surprise. By Christmas, Saturn demand was estimating a shipment of almost 1 million. SOA begin to realize what a mistake they made ignoring the Saturn and scurried to gather software support for it.

By Christmas 1994, 32X sales in the US had tanked. SOA suddenly found themselves with Thousands of unsold and unwanted units. Few games were coming out and mostly everyone was focused on Saturn. When Sega of America finally got Saturn Betas in early 1995, it was too late. All of the resources for games and 3rd party titles had been completely WASTED on 32X. The Sega 32X completely MARRED the Saturn from having solid 3rd party support in the West. It didn't help that SOA themselves also didn't understand Saturn's hardware and failed to teach non Japanese developers how to work with it.

And so, faced with a massive commercial failure, Sega posted a $50 million dollar operating loss on 32X in March 1995. An attempt to garner interest in the upcoming Saturn launching stateside a week ahead of PlayStation, SOA decided to hold a secret trial release of Saturn to select retailers on May 11,1995, in which Tom Kalinske announced at E3 in a very ill advised PR stunt. Confusing people into thinking Saturn was launching 4 months earlier than planned. Not to mention both the small lineup as well as the overpriced SRP of $399(which was even higher than the Japanese retail price,considering Saturn's $205 BOM price).

3rd Party developers in the States were also confused,perplexed and frankly annoyed. The $400 price tag didn't help matters much either to retailers and consumers who were burned by 32X. The 32X had left a very SOUR taste in their mouths.

Despite the price tag and lackluster lineup, Saturn US sales were only mediocre. Underperforming. Thankfully they weren't as abysmal as 32X(Nintendo's Virtual Boy gimmick had failed even worse) but Kalinske's stunt at E3 1995 was the final straw for Hayao Nakayama, in March 1996, Kalinske was given the pink slip from SEGA.

Sadly, despite the Saturn's strong Japanese sales, modest European and Australian sales, internal fighting and management shakeup would destroy the Saturn in the American market. With Rebook Marketing Director Peter Moore being chosen over Sony Marketing Director Bernard Stolar(which was clearly an act of industrial espionage and hiring a Marketing Director from a rival company is Bad omen), Sega of America was about to cave in on itself and fall apart.

With SEGA founder David Rosen resigning to advisory post and Soichiro Irimajiri appointed new Sega of America CEO, there was no initiative to stop Stolar who clearly was sabotaging Saturn with a draconian anti Japanese import policy and robbing the console of good 3rd party support. SOJ watched Stolar one by one destroy the Saturn(on purpose) and gradually destroy all of the good fortune and marketshare that had been built by Genesis) Stolar even ported the dreadful Sonic 3D Blast to the Saturn to add insult to injury while both cancelling "Sonic Pool" and Sonic Xtreme.

Sega of America finally pulled the plug on 32X in February 1996. But the damage had already been done. Worldwide sales were a dismal 400,000 and the long abandoned Sega CD was finally discontinued.

But in early 1997, thanks to a price cut and intervention by SEGA of Japan and Japanese publishers, things started to look bright for Saturn in the States. Sales were gradually improving, and after a lackluster first gen, games were finally coming out and features unknown to western audiences, but leave it to Stolar to make an even more DISASTROUS Stunt at E3 "The Sega Saturn is NOT out Future"(Dear Lord, Stolar seriously was a spy hired by Sony to destroy Sega of America).

Without warning or without telling SOJ, Stolar than ordered retailers to stop carrying and selling Saturns. So in April 1998, the Saturn was officially discontinued in the US to the dismay and surprise of SEGA of Japan. Resulting in a $300 million loss(*Facepalm) and Sega losing a WHOLE fiscal year of profit. Draining them dry for the upcoming Dreamcast.

The poor Saturn was sabotaged in the States by 3 things: 32X, poor Western support, and Bad Management at Sega of America.

And so within 2 years of each other, 32X and Saturn both died in the US. The latter had a chance to grow as a cult console, the former should have NEVER been created and DESERVED to fail. It was a BAD idea overall. Not surprising executed so horribly. The Sega CDX/CD32 alternative, certainly would have been a decent idea that would have worked.

Here's the 32X's Spec Sheet:

CPU: Two Hitachi 32-bit RISC processors at 23MHz/40MIPS(SH-1 with extra threaded core.) 
Co-processors: Genesis 68000, Z80, VDP and 32X VDP(This is a severe design flaw, The co-processors of Genesis' M68000 and added hardware are why the 32X could not function properly).
RAM: 4Mb plus the Mega Drive RAM(debatable. Mega Drive used max 512KBs of RAM. Its possible that by itself, Mars used about 1 MB max.)
Colors: 32,768 simultaneous colors(System 32 sprite tech)
Graphics: RISC processors and dual frame buffers with rotation and scaling hardware support(Without the SH-1 able to function on its own , this feature is worthless)
Polygons: Renders up to 50,000 polygons per second(Revolutionary by 1992 standards,but by '94, laughable at best)
Resolution: 320x224(useless, since Mega Drive only supported 240p low resolution)
Sound: 2-channel stereo digital PCM (+12 channels of the Mega Drive) Crap. The Sound used the Z80 of the Genesis.

Again, the 32X CPU is not the SH-2. It is a SH-1 with an added Thread.

Sega Saturn's full spec sheet in comparison:

Main CPUs : 2 x Hitachi SH-2 @ 28.6364 MHz (56.8 MHZ)
Sound CPU : MC68000 @ 11.45456 MHz 
Sound chip : SCSP/YMF292-F (315-5687)/"LAKE" @ 11.3MHz, 32 PCM (Pulse Code Modulation) Channels, 44.1 khz Sampling Rate 
Secondary CPUs; 
SCU DSP : fixed point maths coprocessor, up to 4 parallel instructions. 
VDP 1 : 32-bit video display processor : sprite and polygon, dual 256KB frame buffers for rotation and scaling effects, Texture Mapping, Goraud Shading, 512KB cache for textures 
VDP 2 : 32-bit background and scroll plane video display processor, 2 Windows for special calculations, transparency, shadowing, background engine, 5 simulataneous scrolling backgrounds, 2 simultaneous rotating playfields, up to 60 frames per second animation 
Main RAM : 2 Megabytes (16 megabits) 
VRAM : 1.54 Megabytes (12 megabits) 
Audio RAM : 512 Kilobytes (4 megabits) 
Rendering Speed : 200,000 Texture Mapped Polygons/Second, 500,000 Flat Shaded Polygons/Second 
Colours : 24-bit true color graphics, 16. Million Available Colors 
Resolution : 320x224, 640x224, and 720x576 horizontal and 240, 448, and 480 vertical 

Sega Saturn was specially designed and customized to run Model 2 Arcade 3D games and System 32 style 2D games. The two VDPs split Model 2's power, and the specially designed SH-2 alongside its heavy clocking are designed to give Saturn a unique feel  as close to "Model 2" as you can get. Trouble being is that early on, Japanese developers only made use of one VDP, while the SDKs were limited in amount of programmable RAM, now to be fair, Nintendo did the same thing with N64 early on as well. These tactics caused Saturn and Nintendo 64 to look bottlenecked in comparison to PlayStation, when in actuality, PS1 was weaker and heavily bottlenecked. Both Saturn and N64 later had expanded RAM to make full use of their powers while Sega of Japan taught programmers how to use both VDPs.

Saturn had several advantages over PlayStation that Western developers had no knowledge about: 1. larger RAM. PS1 only had 1MB, Saturn had up to 4MBs. 2. more Geometrics and polygons(200,000 and 500,000 compared to PS1's 398K max and 180,000 Geo Metrics). 3. Faster Framespeeds of 60FPS and a faster MIPS mechanism. And 4. Several secret key instructions in polygon design, frame buffering and redrawing(which prevented loss of textures and polygon clipping in which PS1 suffered from frequently), multi threads which allowed backgrounds and shapes to be changed(this was a tremendous advantage over PlayStation who lacked this feature and as a result suffered from warped textures and backgrounds) Goraud Shading which allowed a lighting effect that PS1 also didn't have. And although, Saturn DID have transparency features, many developers never took advantage of it.

PlayStation used alot of smoke and mirrors to deceive people into thinking its games looked better(when in fact, they looked worse than Saturn.) PS1 was also easier to program for than Saturn and Nintendo 64, but most Western developers had no clue how bottlenecked PS1 really was.

Although, there was a much very informative detailed analysis on Saturn's 3D features given here:, I'd thought I'd share the secret history regarding Sega's bumpy foray into the 5th Generation. Hope you all enjoyed my Op-Ed.